Screen Printing

Screens made of silk threads, nylon, polyester, or metal apply prints to fabric. An attached stencil forms open areas of mesh to create the pattern to be transferred onto fabric. Then the printing paste or dye is poured on the screen and forced through its unblocked areas onto the fabric by using a roller or squeegee moving across the screen stencil.

Printing Techniques

Textile printing is just one of several different ways to decorate fabrics, and is a process that has advanced greatly over many centuries.

What is Textile Printing?

Printing is known as a process of applying colored patterns and designs to decorate fabrics through dyes, paints, inks, etc. In properly printed fabrics, the color is bonded with the fiber to withstand washing and use. Printing is related to dyeing, however in printing one or more colors are applied in certain parts only and in defined patterns.

History of Textile Printing

The exact time and origin of the beginnings of textile printing is unknown. However, there have been Greek, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and European samples found from the 4th and 5th centuries that have been noted as some of the earliest examples. Early forms of textile printing used primarily stencil work as well as block printing methods. In Europe, textile printing was a widely used method on fabrics used for decorative purposes such as wall hangings.  As technology began to advance more, the invention of the roller printing process came along. This was a commonly used process in France, as they started to become leaders in textile printing around the mid 1700s, mainly for producing toile fabrics.

Printing Techniques in Today’s Fashion

  • Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2010 RTW collection is a great example of amazing textile prints in today’s fashion industry. This genius line executed incredible digitally printed fabrics, with perfectly symmetrical and reptilian-like prints.
  • Prada’s Spring 2010 RTW collection incorporated digital prints with dreamy floral and beach images printed on clean-cut satin and nylon pieces.

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Written by Hope Maxwell

Hope Maxwell is a graduate from the College of Textiles at NC State University (Raleigh, NC, USA) and she currently works as assistant technical designer.

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